SCO Means Business on Linux Licenses

Various authors, ZD Net, Aug 19, 2003
Commentary by Stephen Downes

ZD Net offers comprehensive coverage of the SCO lawsuit against Linux distributors. And it says outright what many have been thinking: SCO (or its silent backers and licensees) wants to kill open source completely. "SCO is planning to respond that the GPL itself is invalid, SCO's lead attorney, Mark Heise of Boies Schiller & Flexner, told the Wall Street Journal." CRLF

CRLFJohn Paczkowski's coverage in Good Morning Silicon Valley is equally good. He writes (with links),

CRLF It's free as in speech, not as in beer: If you happened to be in Las Vegas Monday and wandered into the SCO Forum 2003, you might have thought yourself at anCRLFanti-Linux rally, not a trade show. Such was the posturing andCRLFshowboating that kicked the event off. SCO execs spent so much of the day discussing the company's legal battles over Linux that when they finally got around to talking about product plans, it seemed little but an afterthought. In aCRLFtwo-and-a-half-hour keynote address, marked by chest-pounding worthy of WWE cage match, SCO CEO Darl McBride painted the company's intellectual property battle against IBM and the Linux community as a struggle for the future of proprietary software itself. The Free Software community wants all software to be free, and "that will have a negative impact on us all," McBride said. "When the list price is zero, the margin doesn't matter. SCO is fighting for the silent majority, and what happens here will affect you all. ... At the end of the day, the GPL (the copyright agreement at the core of the free-software movement) is about making software free;CRLFit's about destroying value." McBride's interpretation of "Free software" as defined by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) couldn't have beenCRLFany further off. The FSF clearly states: " 'Free software' does not mean 'non-commercial.' A free program must be available for commercial use, commercial development, and commercial distribution. Commercial development of free software is no longer unusual; such free commercial software is very important." Text message to McBride: RTFM.
CRLFThough a major annoyance, this is a turning point, a rite of passage open source was bound to face sooner or later. If it prevails here - and I have no reason to think that it won't - then open source will have established itself in law as well as in fact. That can only be good.CRLF
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